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Sign our Petition: Stop Aberdeenshire Council from cutting Speech and Language Therapy Funding

Sign the petition now > https://chng.it/WWhtPpNDS6 


Children with additional support needs are being let down by the administration of Aberdeenshire Council. 


Earlier this year, news of proposed cuts to Speech and Language Therapy across Aberdeenshire caused significant concern. These cuts cover 2% of the council budget over two years or 4% of the 2024/2025 budget. 


This decision means that Speech and Language Therapy moves from an enhanced service provided directly in school to a basic one outside the school setting, potentially disrupting and removing children from their learning environment. 


Moreover, this decision could lead to more children being excluded from mainstream schools, which goes against everything Aberdeenshire Council's inclusion policies stand for. 

These plans have caused great stress and worry to the parents, families, and support systems we work with.  


Critical for the well-being and inclusion of all autistic and neurodivergent individuals, the consequences of this decision have the potential to cause mass disruption to the children and young people who depend on local council support. 


We have worked alongside Karen Adams MSP to develop an open letter urging the Aberdeenshire Council to reconsider this decision, voicing concerns and highlighting the risk this decision poses to our children's development. The letter points out the lack of communication and consultation with the families most affected. 


The letter calls for this decision to be stopped. You can support this call to action by signing our petition and contacting your local MSP to express your concerns. You can find your local MPS here


Together, we can ensure our children receive the support they deserve and uphold the values of inclusion and equal opportunities for all. 


Sign the petition here > https://chng.it/WWhtPpNDS6 


Read the full open letter from Karen Adams MSP below and hear from our Playscheme Team Leader Janet Gauthier.

 

Dear Cllr. Owen and Mr Savege, 

  

Alongside many of my constituents and a number of undersigned human rights organisations, I am writing to you following previous correspondence and a public meeting held in my office in Peterhead today regarding Aberdeenshire Council’s proposal to cease funding to NHS for Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) and Health Visitors. 

  

As you are aware, your decision to cut support for children with a speech, language, communication, voice or swallowing difficulty will mean that a statutory service is in place provided by NHS, rather than the current enhanced service. 

  

I understand that discussions are ongoing with the relevant NHS services to prepare for withdrawal of funding. I wish to impress upon both of you the testimonies of the families whose children will be most affected by these cuts and I urge you, once more, to abandon your plans to cut these vital services. 

  

During my public meeting, none of my constituents in attendance had been contacted by Aberdeenshire Council regarding these proposed cuts and the impact they would have on their families. A number of parents were significantly worried about the impact of disruption of their children’s routines and the detrimental effect of potentially having to take children with additional support needs out of learning environments where they were comfortable and where they had established relationships with their speech and language therapists. 

  

It is clear that parents of children with additional support needs, whose families will be most affected by these cuts, do not feel listened to by Aberdeenshire Council. Furthermore, these cuts risk pushing children out of mainstream school which would be contrary to Aberdeenshire Council’s responsibility to promote inclusion as laid out in the Promoting Inclusion and Reducing Exclusions in Educational Establishments Policy 2022 which states clearly that “All children and young children have the right to get the support they need to benefit fully from their education and fulfill their potential.” 

  

I wrote to you, Mr Savege, on the 12th March 2024 regarding my concerns regarding Aberdeenshire Council’s recent budget decisions and my office followed up with you on the 25th March 2024. I received a response on 11th April 2024, but I cannot in good faith leave it there when my constituents are not satisfied with the uncertainty which still surrounds this particular issue. I therefore am writing once again to reiterate my concerns on this matter and to raise with yourself and the Council Leader the significant worries of a number of constituents and disabilities, equalities and human rights organisations . 

  

Aberdeenshire Council’s own impact assessment states clearly that “there is a risk of adverse impacts on the development of children as a result of funding withdrawal from Speech and Language Therapists (SALT).” The impact assessment also states that “the proposal to reduce the number of SALT staff will result in an increased waiting time for children who require this service.” 

  

To conclude, I wish to underline that this decision would not only be to the detriment of the welfare of children with additional support needs and their families, but it would ignore your own impact assessment and be contrary to your own policies regarding promoting inclusion. 

  

I hope you will take this matter with the seriousness it deserves, and I intend to publish this letter publicly. 

 

Karen Adam MSP 




Sign the petition > https://chng.it/WWhtPpNDS6 


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